Pickens Assoc. holds Lottie-focused event for children

For more than two decades, Lottie Moon was like a dear friend that Claren Dease was thrilled to see coming.

“Lyle and I were missionaries for 21 years in Uruguay, and when we would come home for stateside, Lottie always made it possible for us to go back,” she said.

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering — named after the missionary who gave her life serving the people of China — funded the Deases’ work, as well as the work of thousands of other International Mission Board missionaries.

“It was important for us to be able to plant our lives there, and the offering let us do that for so many years,” Dease said.

So when the couple moved back and her husband recently became director of missions for Pickens Baptist Association, she was thrilled to find out the women were planning a Lottie-focused event for children.

“They wanted to see the kids get excited about participating in missions around the world,” she said.

Love Like Lottie, held Dec. 2, was a chance for children in the association’s churches to come together and hear stories about the missions hero, as well as stories about how the offering is still being used today.

“We were able to FaceTime with some of the young women that I worked with when we were in Uruguay,” Dease said. “It was a great way to let the kids know that God is still at work through Lottie.”

It also was a good way to let them know about a local hero — Martha Crawford, a missionary who met Lottie’s boat when she arrived in China.

“Lottie stayed at the Crawfords’ house when she first arrived, and they mentored her and taught her the ropes of how to navigate the customs in China,” said Janet Estis, director of Pickens Association’s Woman’s Missionary Union.

Crawford grew up at Grant’s Creek Baptist Church, Fosters, in what is now Pickens Association.

“Pickens Association has a rich history and we wanted to share that with the kids,” Estis said.

They also wanted to share with the kids that they could change lives too, just like Crawford and Lottie Moon, Dease said.

“Lottie left a lasting mark and gave her life to love the people of China,” she said.

To celebrate that legacy, the 25 children present made heart-shaped pincushions and ate tea cakes like Lottie often made for the children in her village.

“We just want them to know that what she did is not just something that happened 100 years ago — it’s something real and living,” Dease said.

For more information about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, visit www.imb.org/lottie-moon-christmas-offering.